Category: transition plan

Self reflection time: naming my “roadblocks”

As I’ve been doing quite a bit of personal development/reflections over the past few weeks—I’ve realized that when it comes to my two or three biggest obstacles in trying to transition from academia to industry, they all have one thing in common—they’re all mental and I need to do the following to get past them:

            Acknowledge that there are obstacle/blocks to getting to my goals.

            Devise a workable plan for dealing with said obstacles (without hopefully adding more anxiety or obstacles to the path)

            Work daily to make small strides towards getting to stated goals.

            But remember that the goals may be fluid and change as I move forward.

So what are these obstacles or blocks that I’ve recognized over the past few weeks?

The first one is actually the major one—movement paralysis. What I mean by this is that I’ve overthought things so much, that I’m basically afraid to move in any direction, due to the (almost totally irrational) fear that I’m going to be making another large mistake. This is actually a three part paralysis problem–as described below.

This is due in part to how my first post-doctoral position ended—not well. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken that position—I only learned a few new techniques, made quite a few new friends—but I didn’t end up having a very good working relationship with my mentor. When the position ended, I was financially in the hole and felt like I was pretty much emotionally in the hole as well (due mainly to stress).

I came back home to get my financial feet steady again, and to see if I could still find enjoyment in academic research. So—I do have my financial feet steady (for the most part), and while I do enjoy the freedom of academic research—I’m so far off the path from a faculty position, it isn’t funny. If I were to stay in academic research—it would have to be in a support position, and if I was paid a decent salary I’d almost consider staying in academia—but I know I won’t be, and therefore it’s time to move on.

Switching from academia to industry is going to be a complete culture shock, and I know this—also this is where the movement paralysis comes in—what direction do I want to go in?

            There is research at the bench, research away from the bench, marketing, sales, writing, data analysis, clinical, law, ethics, and everything in between. There is also the fact that companies want to hire people focused on a couple of things, and not jack-of-all-trades (and that is how I currently feel—like I’m more of a jack of all trades than a specialist).

So that is the first part of my movement paralysis—determining which direction(s) do I try to go in? Which then leads to the second part of my movement paralysis–what do I feel like “specializing” in, and what do I feel like being a “jack-of-all-trades” in?

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, and at times I tend to get bored and let my mind wander if I have to do the same thing over and over again—though I have tried to get better at this with my most current position. I also know that there are probably quite a few techniques that I’m lacking knowledge on for certain positions. I know that I can pick up the techniques fairly quickly, so that isn’t the major problem (though it is tied with the second issue—which I’ll get to possibly in the next post)—but I’m worried that I’ll get bored with what I’m doing and that there may not be that much to learn with the position.

So this means that I need to look through my diverse scientific background, and list out basically everything I’ve done and decide which two or three things (or areas), are the ones that I’d be willing to spend forty to say sixty hours a week of my life working on for the next thirty to thirty-five years. I know that most of the areas have a numerous papers published monthly, and that it would take quite awhile to feel like I’m an “expert” in those areas—getting back into reading scientific papers is something else I know I need to work on (I lost the little bit of enjoyment I had for that during my postdoctoral years).

This then brings me to the third point of my “movement paralysis”—determining which companies to work for, and brings the triangle of my “movement paralysis” to a close. This point is tied in even more closely with the first point (which direction), than the second one is. There are numerous companies, of different sizes (small start-ups up to large multi-national companies), and they all have their own different culture, ideas, pursuits, and so forth.

So once I have an idea of the two or three directions I’m wanting to go in, then I will also start looking at the different companies that are in those areas and work from there. One way of pursuing this—figure out a way that the different directions could almost go together and therefore make it easy for determining which company (or companies) I want to work for and which biotech hubs I want to be working/living in as well.

So those are my three areas of “movement paralysis”:

            Determining which direction to go,

            Determining what to be an “expert” in and what to be a “jack-of-all-trades” in, and then finally,

            Determining which companies to start looking into, and what biotech hubs to also look into.

Now how am I going to address each area of “paralysis” and move forward?

In terms of which direction to go in—I have several different ideas, but the main “issue” would be trying to figure out how I could go from research at the bench to doing marketing research behind the scenes for example—I know it has been done, but my thought would be can it be done after being in industry (say a second job transition from the bench to behind the scenes).

I have a list of different basic job “titles” or areas that peaked my interest (though one of them is basically my “comfort zone”), and they are:

Other than the R&D Scientist/Manager–which still will have a learning curve mainly for techniques, the other positions are all outside my comfort zone for numerous reasons including:

Not being at the bench–with my current position I do miss being at the bench, but I can’t say for certain if I miss it because I love it, or if I miss it because it is where I’m most comfortable at.

Writing heavy positions. This isn’t to say that I don’t like writing–but grad school and my first (and to a smaller extent my second) post doctoral position dulled my enthusiasm for writing. This is something that I’m trying to get back–starting with writing in my journal, creative writing, and working my way up to summarizing journal articles (to then hopefully write a mini-review on a topic).

Number heavy positions. Dealing with numbers really isn’t the problem–I would just need to learn statistics, and then brush up on basically everything business related (finances and economics for example).

While I’m not looking at positions that are constantly on the road (as I know there are at least two to four different positions that travel at least four days a week), there are one or two that might have some travel time. Currently I want to limit the amount of travel, since when I do move–I’ll have my cat with me (and then I’m planning within six to nine months after settling of getting another kitten or puppy), and that means I don’t want to be paying a large amount of money every month for a pet sitter.

So as you can see—I have numerous directions I can chose from, I just need to decide which are the most interesting and which ones could possibly overlap and make it an easy transition into the second, or third industry positions (as now a days—people may or may not stick with the same company for more than say three to five years).

I almost consider all the positions (other than the R&D scientist/manager) to be some sort of data analyst position—which would be interesting in their own way—but I’m not sure if I want to be stuck at a desk all day or not (but this is something else entirely to deal with).  The R&D position would be staying somewhat within my comfort zone. I’m saying somewhat—because I know that there are technical skills that I’m lacking, but would be able to pick up fairly quickly on the job. The position is listed, because currently I do miss doing actual research at the bench—I’m just not sure if it is something that I want to continue doing for the next thirty or thirty-five years.

All of the positions have a learning curve—there are technical skills, coding, subjects (such as marketing, statistics, and economics for example), and possible foreign languages to learn (or brush up on).

So how can I go about paring down the list? Well, for that to happen I will also need to make headway with the other two points on the triangle (what do I want to be an “expert” in and where do I want to work/live (biotech hubs and the specific companies)—and then hopefully work on getting some informational interviews with people to hear first hand about these positions.

In addition I have listed in another journal things that I can start brushing up on (or learning) that would help with transitioning into the different positions, and may also help get me back into enjoying learning something new and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

This is also going back to my issue with time management—I know that there is enough time in the day to brush up on one or two things, and that I can go between different things (say have a M/W/F schedule & then a T/Th schedule—just like college)—I just need to clean up a work space, install some time management apps—so I don’t spend all day going onto social media, and sit down and get stuff going.

That then brings me to the second area to figure out: my niche. So how do I decide on what to be an “expert” on and what to be a “jack-of-all-trades” on? If I had to pick a couple of skills/areas that I would enjoy doing frequently they would be the following:

I think that knowing how to do “old fashion” molecular cloning is important, only because I’m sure there will be a time when money runs out for a lab and they will still need that one last plasmid to get the grant—if someone knows how to do it the “old fashion” way—they can put in the grant application; if no one knows—the lab folds and closes. This is something that one might not have to do much of in the industry setting (as time is money, and companies may rather just pay another company some money to make the plasmid for them), but I do feel like it is something that any molecular biologist should at least know the theory behind (and if possible, have tried their hands at it).

            If nothing else, I think this would be a good subject to design an entire series of blog posts around, and maybe even a small online course.

The recombinant protein expression and purification fits in with that aspect—because you have to put your gene/protein of interest into a plasmid to be able to study it. Proteins and small molecules are what makes the cell run—knowing how to study them, how to target them (in cases of cancer and other diseases) for treatment is something that I think I’d enjoy doing. There are also numerous technical skills that I would hopefully be able to pick up as well doing this; though with this area—there are so many different proteins, that again this would be an duel edge sword—being an “expert” in one or two, and then a “jack-of-all-trades” in a couple of other types of proteins.

Cell biology fits in with both the above two topics and the last one (small RNA biology) because you have to understand how the cell operates to be able to understand how to start to manipulate it. This is a subject that I would need to brush up on, as I only took one or two classes in college, and while my dissertation topic touched on it a little—it only touched on a very small aspect of it (post-transcriptional modifications).

Small RNA biology is an area that can span different industrial sectors such as biomedical, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural. This is also a growing field, with more being discovered about these small molecules that play a large role in the cell. Having done small RNA biology with both plants and animals, I can go either direction, biomedical/pharmaceutical or agricultural, and probably be happy doing the research at the bench.

So these four areas can probably be condensed down into two areas: molecular biology and cell biology that I feel like I could be an “expert” and a “jack-of-all-trades” in at the same time (as both areas encompass numerous different subfields). The other two areas that I would feel more comfortable having a “jack-of-all-trades” or “minor” expertise in would be biochemistry and chemistry. As I’m typing this, I’m finding it funny that I’m willing to consider myself an “expert” in molecular biology, and an “jack-of-all-trades” or “minor” expert in biochemistry (since both my undergraduate and graduate degrees were in biochemistry and molecular biology)—it has only taken me about nine years to figure out which subfield I’m more comfortable with compared to the other.

So, while I’ve chosen the areas (and to some extent the subfields)—I’m still going to need to spend time reading papers, and giving myself a refresher in certain subjects (namely chemistry, a little biochemistry (all those pathways), and a little cell biology). I need to design a tracking system, or something that will make it interesting and fun so that I don’t lose interest after a week or so—plus I will design a schedule to where I focus on only say two “subjects” on any particular day (pretend I’m back in college).

So I have some idea of the direction(s) I’m probably willing to take; ideas of what I wouldn’t mind becoming an “expert” versus an “jack-of-all-trades” in—which then leads to the third point—where do I want to relocate to, and then which companies within that region am I going to look into further. This is actually a two-part problem: location to live and company to work for. I’ve realized that I’m going to be going about this issue in a different manner than most people: I’m going to first focus on narrowing down the biotech hubs that I’m willing to relocate to, and then focus on narrowing down the companies within the biotech hubs that I want to work for.

So when it comes to choosing a biotech hub, I already have several different criteria that will have to be met:

            The cost of living has to be reasonable. I know that moving to a larger city, rent is going to be relatively high, but I don’t want to be paying an outrageous amount of money for a small studio or one bedroom apartment.

            There has to be a decent public transportation system in the city. This is currently an absolute must have, as I don’t drive (and until I work thorough my anxiety issues associated with it—I won’t be driving). So that is one thing the city has to have—public transportation. I don’t mind riding buses, trains, or both to get to work—you do what you have to do, with what you have.

            There has to be things to do within the city (both free and hopefully also fairly inexpensive). With a transition into industry, this will hopefully mean that I won’t have to be working on weekends (though the occasional one is perfectly fine), and I can spend the time exploring my new city and the surround areas. That also means that there should be ways of getting around the outlying areas as well (for example—Boston serves as a hub and you can take a bus almost anywhere within a four hour drive).

            Finally, there needs to be a decent number of companies within the area. I realize that I may not spend the rest of my career working for the company that I start with—but if I’m going to be changing companies (for whatever reason, say five to ten years after starting with company one) I don’t want to be moving cross-country, or even between states (if I can avoid it). The move to and from Boston for my first postdoctoral position soured me on long distance moving (moves are expensive, and time consuming [packing, arranging movers, finding an apartment/condo/house, setting up utilities, getting your stuff delivered, and then unpacking], and as far as I’m concerned—an all around headache).

            When it comes to trying to pick the companies, this will be in part dependent on which direction I chose to go in, what I’ve “branded” myself an “expert” in, and of course the city. I know that companies all have their own culture, values, and visions—so the best way of narrowing down the companies will be to setup informational interviews. These will start first online (or over the phone), and then when I have an solid idea of the place(s)—hopefully in person informational interviews, when I take some networking trips in the spring.

So there it is—my “movement paralysis” layout, and each little circle opened up to reveal another “knot” that needs to be worked out in order to move forward. I’m going to be doing this a little slower than others might—but by doing it slow, I can hopefully avoid falling into any major panic attacks or introducing a new “movement paralysis” stop.

First things to do: clean up my room and design a work area at home (probably not my desk—which is also currently serving as my dresser), install some time management apps on the computer (to keep me from surfing social media sites during the day—especially once I’m on my reboot break), and design a schedule for the “class” work I need to start working on. In addition, I’ll be working a little on it during the week at work (when I have a little down time in between other things), such as reading business/tech pages to start brushing up on the business side of science.

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Update on the April Full Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be entering it’s latest full moon stage tomorrow, and actually should be within the Scorpio constellation. I will admit that this year has totally confused me on which constellation the moon is in and when, since there have been a couple of times that it seems to have transitioned quickly back into the same constellation it was in the previous month. So it looks like I’m going to have another chance on working on my goals for a Scorpio full moon, as that is the constellation that it will be going through tomorrow. That means that it’s time to look back on the first round of Scorpio goals and see how I did with each one.

So goals for this full moon period are going to include:

            Getting my fitness and nutrition back on track.

            Working on my transition plan.

            Practicing gratitude/happiness/keeping a positive outlook daily.

So how did I do with each one?

            In terms of fitness and nutrition—this didn’t really happen, though I am trying not to buy as many sweets on campus. Now that our wifi/internet is hopefully back to it’s normal speed and not disappearing at the drop of a dime I will hopefully try to get back into doing a workout daily.

                        I’ve realized that at times I get bored with the workout because I’ve done it before and then I lose interest in the entire program. I’m thinking that I’m going to have to push myself to get through a program and try to lift a little heavier each week (if possible) in certain exercises and see if that can help propel me through various programs.

                        In terms of nutrition, I need to figure out a better way of dealing with stress and irritation—currently it’s going to buy some type of sweet/candy that I know I don’t need but I usually eat it anyway (or I save it for the weekend at home). If I can avoid getting the sweets (and the extra coffee) in the morning/during the day—besides losing some weight I will also be saving some money.

            In terms of working on my transition plan, so far the only book that I’ve finished reading so far has been: “Reboot your life: energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith. This book has shown me that its fine wanting to take a break from things, and that it’s even expected that people do that (I had no idea that companies like Google and Genetech actually support employees doing this).

                        So this is something that I’m seriously thinking of doing. I know that I have enough money saved (one nice thing about my current living arrangements), and that this is the perfect time for me to do so. Therefore sometime by the end of the year I’m going to embark on my own “reboot break”.

                        I’ve also joined another subgroup within a professional group I’m in—this one focusing on different aspects of scientific writing (but focused on non-academia areas). There are two other books that I’m currently reading (and hopefully will be finishing within the next full moon), and they are: “The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life” by Margaret Loensteine and “Next Gen PhD” by Melanie Sinche.

Listening to a teambeachbody podcast this week (and currently I forget which April one it was), but one thing that stuck with me was—working the personal development that I need to be working on for myself and not what others think (or I think I should do to be like others). Listening to some of the podcasts have been reminding me that I really haven’t been working on me for me; and that is another reason why I’m leaning towards doing a “reboot break”.

Finally in terms of trying to practice happiness/gratitude daily—this is a hit and miss. I realize that the part of my day that I’m currently at times the unhappiest is when I’m at work. One reason is that we’re getting into the nicer weather and I don’t like being stuck indoors all day. I think that I’d almost prefer a job that had flexible hours/schedule to where I could work from both an office and then from home (or a park or somewhere I could take a break and get outdoors). I’m trying to find things to be happy/grateful for daily, and it boosts my mood for a while—but if others are in a bad mood that seems to spread around everyone and it’s hard to stay upbeat. So that is yet another nudge I need for taking a “reboot break” so that I can figure out what the next stage of my career is going to be.

Things were hit and miss this last month, and I’m not sure if it was just because the semester was winding down or if I was going through another small bout of depression (or both). Since we’re going to be cycling back through Scorpio, I will have the chance to modify the goals and figure out the best plan for moving forward again—since the moon in Scorpio will also mark the start of the full moon going through all my houses (from the first).

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A Review: Libra Full Moon Goals

So the next full moon happened yesterday (April 19), and technically is the second Libra Full moon, transitioning quickly into Scorpio. So both my review and my new full moon goals are going to be a couple of days late in posting. In terms of the next full moon goal post—I’m probably going to go with Scorpio goals, as the moon will have transitioned into the Scorpio constellation by the time I get to posting that entry. But for now lets look back at the goals I’d set for the Libra Full moon and see how I did with each one of them.

The goals for the Libra Full Moon included:

            Rereading and modifying my transition plan as needed.

            Continue making the lists/goals for the set of job titles that I’ve initially chosen so that I can narrow it down to say three to four (out of the seven).

            Rework my fitness/nutrition plan/goals and make another long-term list (including rewards for hitting certain benchmarks).

So how did I do with each one?

I’m still going through and modifying my transition plan—I’ve realized that one area that I haven’t been clear on is the exact type of position (or companies) I want and that I’d want to work for. It’s difficult to move forward in the transition if I’m not sure where I want to end up. So I’m also reading some other books to help in the self-assessment and self-reflection to help narrow down some ideas of what I would like to do.

I am making lists and goals of what I should be doing (and trying to make a weekly post on how I’ve done with everything that I said I wanted to get accomplished that week). I am probably going to be reworking the lists and goals as I work through other questionnaires and really try to get a good idea of what I want to be doing with my life.

In terms of the nutrition/fitness goals—I’ve reworked this as well, and I am going to be trying to make a weekly (or biweekly) update on the blog on how I’ve done the previous week in terms of the mini goals that I’ve set.

So far in terms of the last two goals—I only managed to do one update last week for the fitness/nutrition and then my finance goals. I will probably try to do what is turning out to be a biweekly update on the job transition/career goals and then my other personal development goals. There won’t be an update this week for the fitness goals as all I managed to get done is really walking this week (though I have managed to surpass my step goal for the week).

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Transition Plan Update III: Determining the professional lifestyle and job titles…..

So I am still working my way through various transition plans trying to forge the correct mix of all for myself. I’ve managed to figure out quite a bit over the past ten weeks, and while some of the answers are still slightly broad (since I haven’t quite fine tuned the positions and/or companies), I have a better idea of what I should be working towards.

I’ve managed to answer one of my “why” questions—why am I still in science, and why do I want to potentially stay in research. I’ve also managed to use it to help me figure out that if I stay in biomedical—that is where I may switch to data analysis (or maybe go in the direction of scientific/medical writing), but at the same time I could switch to the agricultural industry or cosmetic research sector & stay within research by helping to improve crop production (or maybe even biofuel production), or cosmetic products. I also need to remember how my Clifton Strength Assessment went and that I’m more of an inward working person (thinking & executing) than people facing person; out of my top fifteen traits only three are in the relating clade. My top five traits are: learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative. These are also things that I need to take into account when choosing what type of professional lifestyle I want to live.

Then when I turn to thinking about the professional lifestyle that I would prefer to have, it includes some time in the lab doing research. I realize that going into industry will actually decrease the amount of time in the lab (based on a forty hour week), as there will be meetings that will have to be attended as well. I also know that at times science isn’t a nine to five job (experiments can run late, especially if they follow a meeting that might have started a little late), so I know that hours might have to be flexible. I’m fine with that, because I know that I should be getting paid well enough to compensate for the extra hours (and maybe an occasional weekend). In terms of traveling, I’d prefer to only have to do it less than say ten percent of the time (so mainly going to conferences and local symposiums). While I want to travel—I want to travel for enjoyment and not the job (or at least not one where I’d be in potential meetings all day). I can probably do data analysis, though sitting in front of a computer for eight hours doesn’t sound like a lot of fun—I know that there would probably be meetings throughout the week to break up the monotony of staring at a computer screen. I also know that I need to try to start reading more articles (and I think I might have to schedule it into my day in order to make sure that I actually do it).

So with these thoughts in mind, I’ve decided on the following prospective positions (though the list will probably change as I start to go more in-depth research on each one and the companies within different industry sectors):

(1) R&D scientist

(2) Health Economist and Outcome Research

(3) Market Research Analyst

(4) Marking Communications Specialist

(5) Clinical Data Manager

(6) Scientific/Medical Writing

(7) Quantitative Analyst

So other than #1 (and that depends on the industry sector I go into), the others are all slightly outside my comfort zone. They are all interesting to me (though two of the bottom [5 &6] could have a little more travel than I’d want—but that could be something that can be worked with).

If I go a little slow (mainly to keep the anxiety in check), I will probably get quite a few lists made of things to work on for each position (including ideas for better networking on linkedin). I’ve realized over the past two weeks, that I have been letting my anxiety and stress hold me back this month in terms of trying to really move forward on the transition plan. Now that I have ideas of the types of positions, I need to look into different large cities (or biotech hubs) and see what companies are in those locations. While I am willing to relocate outside of Oklahoma—I do have a certain criteria that I’m going to be looking for in terms of places I’m willing to move. Once I know that a city has a large enough variation in companies—then I will start really researching the companies.

So I have made some strides in what I’m wanting to do—the list hasn’t changed that much since I first made it back in September—I’ve figure most of them (other than R&D scientist) can be considered a data analyst position of some type.

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Working on the transition plan: determining and focusing in on a small set of values.

There are different definitions of the word value, depending on whether or not the word is being used as a noun or as a verb. When used as a noun (especially in terms of job searching, professional, and personal development) the definition of value then can be considered: “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment on what is important in life”.

Everyone can share certain values and then also have completely different values as well. This is one important aspect of both personal and professional development that one has to think on throughout their lives and careers. Truthfully, this is one area that I’ve always been weak on (namely because I’ve always had a hard time trying to figure out what I want to do with my degree and what direction my career should go).

So over the past year and half, I’ve read several different personal/professional development books and worked through some e-courses, and they all had one exercise in common: picking out words from a list that resonated with you in terms of both your personal life and your professional life. Some told you to pick words that resonated with both (or to have a short list that encompassed both aspects), others had you do the activity twice: once for personal and then again for professional.

So while I’m including three of my value lists (one done from a book, one from an e-course, and the other from another program). They are in picture format (love using word cloud to make pictures out of words). There are words that show up multiple times, and now it is time for me to merge these lists into one list, and hopefully then get a “core list” and an “additional” value list made from these three.

So the first list of value words came from an exercise from the book: “Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking” by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport. This was one of the first personal development books that I read last year after being laid off. It has wonderful insights and exercises for one to do, and I’m slowly starting to stop worrying about things that I can’t control and learning how to re-frame my negative thoughts into more positive ones.

This exercise had you make a list of values for both your personal and professional lifestyles (going with first your personal and then your professional). I will admit that the list for professional was shorter than the list for personal (but this is again due to me still trying to figure out the type of professional lifestyle that I would like to have).

Word cloud of my personal and professional values from the book

My second list of core values come from my transition plan that I’ve been developing and modifying via of my enrollment and involvement in the Cheeky Scientist Association (which is an company/association that helps people with PhDs (and Masters) degrees transition into industry positions). This list is smaller than the other two, because I was trying to limit the list to no more than ten or twelve values (and one way I did this was by finding values that also could be considered combinations of other values together). This shorter list of values include:

Vitality (combination of health & fitness),

Synergy (combination of teamwork & collaboration),

Flexibility,

Dignity,

Openness,

Creativity,

Curiosity,

Evolution,

Relationship,

Intuition, and finally

Empathy.

The final list comes from an e-course that I took on the topic of career development/searching for the right job. The actual title of the course is: Deciding your career path—even if you have no idea how! on udemy.com. I found this to be a little bit of a refresher course, though it did offer one new trick on trying to match your skills with the skills that the job posting has listed (but that is a topic for another post). This short refresher (at least for me) asked that you make a list of the values that resonated with you, and then rank them to find your top five to seven. Below is my unranked list of values that I listed (and I have them covering again both personal and professional):

So as you can see—I have basically one very large list of values (both personal and professional), now I have to either rank them or choose the ones that resonate the most with me to focus on during this current career transition.

When you use a program that groups or changes the size of the word depending on the number of times you have it listed, you can get a cool picture.

I’ve also realized that there are several values added to the image that aren’t found on the list (or I’ve added in the word again); but that I also left off hard work from my value list. This isn’t to say that I don’t value

One thing I thought of doing was grouping some together under an overarching theme, and I think that the current theme could be continuous improvement (which can mean numerous things in terms of both personal and professional development). So while I’m sure that I could continue to add to the above lists in terms of things that resonate with me, the ones that I’m going to focus on for the next few years include:

            Learning, Creativity, Variety, Vitality, Synergy, Honesty, happiness, adventure, and economic security

            Learning can encompass knowledge and education

            Vitality can encompass fitness, health, and nutrition

            Synergy can encompass collaboration and teamwork

So I think that I need to be looking for companies that have a sense of community, and also programs to help employees grow as professionals. In addition if I stick with research, going a different direction from what I’ve been doing will be another way to ensure that I’m continuing to learn and gain knowledge.

So to summarize, I’m going to be focusing on aspects/values that will allow me to continue to grow and learn (something that I pushed aside for awhile after finishing graduate school), and become a better me. Those values again are:

Now to start looking for companies that will allow me to focus on both these values and also have the type of professional lifestyle that I probably would enjoy. That lifestyle I think is a mixture of both lab work and data analysis (I don’t think I really want to be sitting behind a desk all the time; and I do miss being at the bench and actually working on “my” research). In addition, while there may be some long days (and/or weekends) of work, I am duly compensated for that time. There is also an company culture that emphasizes the balance of both work and having a life away from the business (i.e. you don’t have to worry about checking emails after hours, on the weekends, or on holidays). So I am slowly starting make the progress needed for my transition from academia to industry.

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